The Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs started their game with slow offense by both sides. Near the middle of the first quarter, the Spurs started to go on a run, and they were taking advantage of some miscues by the Nuggets on offense and putting up points in a hurry. As the quarter was winding down, Denver began to close the gap, and they were able to battle back with Nikola Jokic leading the charge, as he had 17 of the team’s 30 points in the first quarter. They trailed 32-30 heading into the second period.

Early in the second quarter, the Nuggets were struggling to hit the easy shots as they had missed at least five layups through the first 14 minutes of the game, and they were trailing by six in the early part of the period. Things started bad, and they only got worse for the Nuggets as the Spurs went on a 21-4 run over the first seven minutes of the quarter. The Nuggets did some work to close that gap over the next few minutes, but they gave up another run to trail 64-44 heading into halftime after scoring just 14 points in the second period.

At the start of the third quarter, the Nuggets showed that they weren’t going down without a fight. Led by Jokic and Aaron Gordon, they chipped away at the deficit. After consistently struggling in the second half for the past few months, this was a great development. Denver won the quarter by a huge margin, and they went into the fourth trailing by just six after being down by as many as 21 points.

After playing strong in the third quarter, the Nuggets were hoping for more of the same in the fourth, but that wasn’t the case. Denver was struggling to score, and, even when they would get a shot to go, the Spurs would quickly match with one of their own. The Spurs were shooting 48 percent from 3-point range late into the game, and they had shot 12 more free throws than Denver which had helped them to build a comfortable 15-point lead. Denver’s deficit was not the fault of Jokic or Gordon, as the two were a combined 26-of-50 while the rest of the team were a combined 15-of-46 with under a minute remaining in the game.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 41

Assists: Will Barton – 6

Rebounds: Jokic – 17

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 41 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 18-of-35 field goal, 1-of-5 3-point, 4-of-6 free throw